Solo & Ensemble Festival

The 2019 Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) Solo and Ensemble Festival will be held at Waunakee High School on Saturday, March 2, 2019 from approximately 8 AM to 4:30 PM. This is a required event for 7th and 8th graders. 6th graders may participate with permission.

All 7th grade students or students new to band in 8th grade must perform a solo.

  • If they participate at the festival, they will be eligible for a grade of "4" for the project (if they receive a "I" or "II" rating AND complete the reflection assignment). Students receiving a III or lower will receive no higher than a grade of "3."
  • If they do not perform at the festival (planned absence), they must perform for me the week prior and they will be graded according to the official WSMA rubrics for district (see below). This means I = 4, II = 3, III = 2, IV or V = 1.
  • If they do not perform at the festival (unplanned absence), they will be graded according to the official WSMA rubrics for district (see below) based on their last mock performance run-through. If this never occurred, they will perform the week after the festival for me. Grading: I = 4, II = 3, III = 2, IV or V = 1.

How to Be Successful

Solo and Ensemble Checklist and Introduction.pdf

General Information

How Will I Be Judged?

  • All rubrics for common instrumental events at the district level are below for you to view.
  • Comments only (CO) rubrics may be used instead of scores by request or at the discretion of the director (comments are given in either instance).
  • A performance may also be given a critique only (no score) if a performer violates any WSMA rules (no original copy for the judge given, not all performers present, etc). However, no judge may turn you away from performing.

What Can I Play?

  • All performers must perform a piece/section from that year's list of allowed pieces (available through the director), or they must receive permission directly from WSMA.
  • Students interested in auditioning for Middle Level State Honors will need to prepare a Class B solo. This festival is a great opportunity to get a trial run for performing it.

Piano Accompanists

  • Piano fees are $15 per student (or split if doing a duet or trio). THE MONEY MUST GO TO MR. SKALESKI DIRECTLY (checks written out to: DeForest Music Boosters Association). They will in turn pay the accompanist their fee, which is also partially funded by the Music Parents organization.
  • If a student performs a class A and reaches the State competition, students must pay their accompanist an additional fee for that performance.
  • Please remember to THANK your accompanist for playing for you!
  • For a list of available accompanists, please click here.

Cancellations / Bad Weather

  • Any cancellations made once the final draft of the performing schedule has been published will require participating students to refund the school the cost of their registration.
  • In case of poor weather conditions, check local news, your e-mail, and/or the Waunakee School District website for cancellations and delays at

Instrument/Supply Emergencies

  • A music store representative from Ward-Brodt Music will be available to assist you if you have an instrument malfunction or need an emergency item (oil, reeds, etc.).


  • Prepared
    • Judges can EASILY tell whether or not you have prepared. Please ensure you are practicing EARLY and OFTEN.
    • Ensure you have thought out how you want to start and end your piece, especially if you are playing with others.
    • Know how to pronounce the composer and arranger's names.
    • Make sure you understand all terminology used, whether in English or another language. If not sure, a quick Google search can easily get you the answer!
    • Think of at least one interesting, challenging, or fun thing about what you are performing - you must tell the judge what this is. Be specific by stating what it is, where it is, and why it's interesting/challenging/fun.
    • BRING A PENCIL TO ALL PRACTICES AND THE PERFORMANCE. The judge will likely have valuable feedback and writing it down after he/she has shared this with you would be a great idea. You'll forget if you don't write it down.
  • Professional
    • Dress nicely - the same uniform you use for concerts works just fine. This would include black shoes, black socks, black pants, and the purple music polo. Otherwise, "Sunday best" is also a good rule of thumb. 8th grade ensembles must use the concert dress.
    • Treat the judge with respect. Be polite, and wait for them to finish any work they are doing with the previous event. They are there to help you and they want to see you succeed!
    • Introduce yourself and everyone involved (including your piano player, if you have one). Be professional when doing this.
    • If using an accompanist: Please treat your piano player (accompanist) with respect and thank them for the time they spend with you.
  • Equipment / Music
    • If you take private lessons, you are responsible for providing an original copy for the judge. Mr. Skaleski will not always have an original copy for music assigned by other teachers - especially piano music.
    • Both your copy and the original/judge's copy must have every measure numbered (if not already numbered).
    • Drum set players should bring their own drum set to the festival. Drum sets are typically not provided by either Waunakee or DeForest High School.
    • Percussionists may be asked to bring their own snare drums and other equipment. If not required that particular year, it is an option for students that wish to do so.
    • Mr. Skaleski will not have access to a copier, so you must bring your copy of your piece to perform.

Sample Rubrics


State Festival

Students that perform a class A solo/ensemble and reach the state level may perform at UW-Whitewater (click for a map) on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Rubrics may be different compared to district rubrics. All rubrics attached below are for district-level only.

Click here for more information on the UW-Whitewater State Solo and Ensemble Festival.